BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The cold war between the Senate and the Presidency may further worsen due to certain actions of the executive arm of government considered by the Upper legislative chamber as a deliberate affront to undermine its responsibilities.
This is not the first time that the National Assembly and the Presidency will be on collision course over appointments.
The non-confirmation of Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the Senate is still hot on the table with the Presidency arguing that Magu’s appointment does not require the Senate’s confirmation.
However, the renewed hostilities are occasioned by the Presidency’s resolve to appoint a new Director General for the National Lottery Commission (NLC), Mr. Adolphus Joe Ekpe, without deference to the Senate for screening and confirmation in line with the Act setting up the Commission.
Senator Dino Melaye drew the attention of the Senate to the action of the Presidency when he raised Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, saying that Section 8 (1) of the National Lottery Commission Act stipulates that there shall be for the Commission a Director-General, who shall be appointed by the President, subject to the confirmation of Senate.
Melaye, who wondered why the Presidency would choose which provision(s) of the law to comply with, further said it inappropriate that the new Director General has not only assume office, but already signing documents and approving payments.
According to Dino; “It is Sad to note that a new Director General of the National Lottery Commission has been appointed and assumed office and signing documents. This country is not a banana republic and the Executive cannot choose which law to obey.”
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki said there is need for the matter to be thoroughly investigated, adding that; “This is very weighty and one which bothers on the constitution and the rule of law”.
Saraki stressed that if Melaye’s claims are confirmed to be true, the Director General should be made to stop the nonsense and immediately vacate his seat.